Prints of Asheville by Lee James
online thru Fine
City of Asheville Interactive Map
Google Map of Asheville & Buncombe County
This section will provide
you with a good overview of Asheville North Carolina.
More in-depth information about Asheville restaurants,
hotels, attractions and things to do can be found in my best-selling guidebook
The Ultimate Guide To Asheville & the Western North
Carolina Mountains, available on Amazon.
Asheville is located at the hub of
the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, 2,216 feet above sea level
on the Asheville Plateau, Asheville is the largest city in Western
North Carolina and the tenth largest municipality in the state,
covering an area of 40.99 square miles. Asheville’s population is
estimated at over 92,000 and the city is located at the
confluence of the
French Broad and Swannanoa rivers in a river-formed valley that
runs 18 miles north and south. Chartered in 1797 and named after
Samuel Ashe, a former governor of North Carolina, Asheville attracts
millions of visitors and tourists
each year who come for the timeless natural beauty, the crisp highland air, the
magnificent mountains and cosmopolitan vibrant hospitality the city offers.
Every year publications of every type list Asheville and the Western North
Carolina mountains as one of the best places in the world to live. Consistently
ranked by major publications and organizations as one of the top cities in
America to live or visit, and always on “Top 10 Lists,” Asheville’s recent
accolades include “Top-10 Great Sunny Places to Retire (AARP), Top 10 River
Towns (Outside Magazine), #10 Food and Wine Destination (TripAdvisor), #3 for
Most Beautiful Places in the US (GMA), Top 25 Small Cities for Art (AmericanStyle
Magazine), #4 Top College Small Towns (Best Place to Retire), America’s #1
Quirkiest Town (Travel and Leisure), Most Beautiful Place In America to Live and
More (Real Estate Scorecard) and The Biggest Little Culinary Capital in America
(Departures). In 2017 Condé Nast Traveler named Asheville as one of the Best
Small Cities in the U.S.
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville &
The Western North Carolina Mountains
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Surrounded by thousands of acres of majestic mountains, plateaus, rolling
valleys and mystical coves, Asheville is a city not easily forgotten once
visited. With its winding hilly streets graced by architectural gems from the
past, Asheville has been referred to as the “Paris of the South.” Every section
of this enchanting city is blessed with unique and irreplaceable buildings that
few cities in America can match. From the awesomely majestic
Biltmore House to
the Art Deco masterpiece S&W Building to the stately rock-hewn beauty of the
Grove Park Inn, Asheville is overflowing with architectural treasures. More than
170 historic buildings have been preserved, some of which were
world-famous architects Richard S. Smith, Douglas Ellington, Richard M. Hunt and
Rafael Guastavino. Couple this with all of the cultural, business and
entertainment possibilities and you have an extraordinary city to experience.
A major tourist destination with more than 11,000,000 visitors annually,
Asheville is also known for its varied and rich
Arts & Crafts communities.
Hundreds of galleries, craft shops, and artisans studios are to be found here.
Asheville has become an important center for traditional Appalachian as well as
contemporary crafts and the variety and quality of the craft galleries and the
many craft exhibits and shows attest to this fact.
Asheville has a wide variety and number of accommodations from
world-class resort hotels to budget motels. The season of the year
has a lot to do with accommodation availability. Summer and the fall
leaf season in October are by far the most crowded and busiest times
of the year. Also, the October leaf season, and Christmas and New
Year weekends are all high-volume times. Reservations for these
weekends can be hard to find if not booked in advance. While there
are many fine accommodations for lodging, timeshare
some of the best value. Buy
a timeshare on
the resale market and save up to 50%!
Located only minutes from national forests and green valleys, outdoor recreation
opportunities abound. White-water rafting, golf, hiking, fishing, horseback
riding, llama trekking, rock climbing, camping and ballooning are just a few of
the choices. Asheville also has a number of wonderful public parks, including
the small Pritchard Park where street musicians and chess players are often
found and the recently renovated 6.5 area city showpiece, the Pack Square Park,
complete with splash pad, bathrooms, information center and sculptures, where
major festivals and musical events take place throughout the year. Both of these
parks are located downtown and easy to find.
As you would expect, Asheville is rich in museums, nature centers, historic
sites and other attractions for the visitor. During your stay, you may wish to
attend a performance of the
Asheville City Ballet, the
Asheville Symphony Orchestra or
one of the many local theatre companies. A wonderful way to spend a summer
evening is to take in a game at historic
McCormick Field, where Babe Ruth once
played baseball. Throughout the year Asheville celebrates with many festivals,
from the renowned fairs of the
Southern Highland Craft Guild to
local street festivals.
People can drive from
all over to attend these street festivals. While even a Title
loan assessor would agree that road trips can be fun, it is always
important to keep safe driving tips in
Asheville is also a major medical center. Modern hospitals and numerous
specialized medical facilities, as well as a large resident population of
doctors and medical professionals combine to make Asheville the regional center
for health care.
The largest city in Western North Carolina, Asheville is the regional center for
manufacturing, transportation, banking and professional services and shopping.
Asheville has also in recent years experienced a downtown revitalization that is
establishing it as Western North Carolina’s entertainment mecca. Nightclubs,
pubs and superb
restaurants all add
to the mix that now creates one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan downtown
districts in the South. Voted an All-America City in 1997 by the National Civic
League, Asheville was one of only ten U.S. cities to receive this prestigious
award. An abundance of local craft breweries notably the
Highland Brewery, Sierra Nevada and others have also earned Asheville the
title of "Beer City USA". Asheville is home to numerous venues, included many
restaurants and most bars, where local handcrafted beers can be sampled, and in
September, the popular
Brewgrass Festival takes place, a celebration of Asheville's
many microbreweries and bluegrass music.
Surrounded by towering mountains, Asheville was a small crossroads town when it
was founded by pioneer town planner John Burton in 1792. Known as Morristown
during the early years, the city was also called Buncombe Courthouse until 1797,
when it was incorporated and named Asheville in honor of North Carolina governor
Buncombe attained county status in 1792 and was named for Revolutionary War hero
Col. Edward Buncombe. Growth was slow until 1880, when the first railroad system
was constructed. This first steam train changed Asheville forever, bringing in
the outside world. This small mountain settlement went from a population of
2,616 to 10,328 in just ten years. A trickle of summer visitors that had
journeyed to Asheville for half a century turned into a torrent. By 1886, an
estimated 30,000 “summer people” visited the city annually. In 1885, the
building of the first Battery Park Hotel was noted as the beginning of a great
period of expansion for Asheville. Near the turn of the century, George
Vanderbilt also began construction of the now world famous Biltmore House.
The greatest boom period in Asheville’s history came during
the 1920s with the construction of many new buildings throughout downtown, including the Grove
Arcade, City Hall, Buncombe County Courthouse, Flat Iron Building and others.
Many Art Deco buildings were also constructed in this period, the best example
being the S&W Cafeteria building.
Today, Asheville is experiencing another period of tremendous growth and
revitalization. The downtown district, with its wealth of historic buildings, is
one of the most vibrant city centers in the South. Major, ecologically sound
riverfront development is also occurring along the French Broad River, with
parks, greenways and cultural centers emerging. Asheville continues to attract
people from around the world as an exciting vacation destination, and as a
wonderful and beautiful place to live.
Growth and revitalization is occurring all over
the South. Companies such as
Braidy Industries, led by CEO
T. Bouchard, is opening an aluminum mill in
surrounding Asheville serve as a moderating influence from
extreme conditions. Major snow storms are rare and annual precipitation is
around 50 inches and average annual snowfall is about 15 inches. The mountains
serve to keep the area cool also during the summer months, and with their higher
elevations are usually 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the lowlands of the
Carolinas and Georgia.
Spring in the Appalachians is a wondrous time, with mild days and nights.
Wildflowers are blooming
abundance and all chance of snow has virtually
disappeared by April. Summer brings more humidity and heat, although nothing
like what the lowlands experience. Late afternoon thunderstorms are common and
August usually brings a few weeks when it is hot enough for air conditioning.
Temperatures can reach over 90 degrees in Asheville and Hendersonville. Such
extremes are rare, however, at elevations over 4,000 feet. Winter doesn’t make
its presence shown until after Christmas, and January and February can be very
cold with temperatures dipping down below 20 degrees occasionally. Light snows
and ice storms occur frequently, although the snow rarely stays on the ground
for more than a few days. Big snowfalls can occur but they are rare. The Blizzard of ’93 dumped
three feet of snow on the ground in less than 24 hours!
Downtown Asheville Districts
City of Asheville Interactive Map
Google Map of Asheville & Buncombe County
itself has four distinct neighborhoods, each with their own distinctive
qualities and ambience: Battery Park, the area that includes Haywood Street,
Wall Street, and Battery Park Avenue; Lexington Park, spanning Lexington Avenue
and Broadway; Pack Square, encompassing Pack Square, South Pack Square, Biltmore
Avenue, and Patton Avenue; and Thomas Wolfe Plaza, centered on Market Street and
1. Battery Hill
Neighborhood: This neighborhood is crowned by the magnificent
Basilica of St. Lawrence, D.M., the former Battery Park Hotel and the historic
Grove Arcade. This area contains some of Asheville’s best shopping and dining.
Be sure to take a stroll down quaint Wall Street and visit some of its
interesting and unusual stores. Farther down on Haywood Street is the Asheville
Civic Center and the main library.
2. Lexington Park
Neighborhood: This is Asheville’s antique shop district.
If you are at all interested in antiques, a visit to this district
is a must. There you will also find trendy boutiques, the oldest
store in town, coffeehouses, galleries and nightclubs.
3. Pack Square
Neighborhood: The heart of Asheville is Pack Square, a
wonderful space surrounded by stunning architecture, from Art Deco
to contemporary. This is a district that overflows with nightlife
from the many art galleries, pubs, coffeehouse, theatres and
restaurants. Asheville’s Pack Place and YMI Center for
African-American Culture are also found here.
4. Thomas Wolfe Plaza
Neighborhood: Crowned by the historic home of author
Thomas Wolfe, the Thomas Wolfe Plaza area is home to the Asheville
Community Theatre, historic churches, craft shops and art galleries.
Surrounding Communities in Buncombe County
Asheville has a number of unincorporated communities and distinct
areas that are constellated in and around the city, and could be
logically referred to as Asheville's "suburbs". These include Arden,
Biltmore Forest, Candler, Enka,
Leicester. Of these Biltmore Forest is the most historic. An
incorporated town located right in the heart of Asheville, this
residential community is immediately adjacent to the world famous
Biltmore Estate and is known for its many historic and elegant homes
Arden -South of Downtown
Arden is an unincorporated area
located in southern Buncombe County, south of Asheville. It is
considered part of the greater Asheville area. Arden is primarily residential, with a concentration of businesses and
stores located along the major highways.
-South of Downtown
Forest is a planned residential community in Buncombe County, surrounded
by the much larger city of Asheville. Population of Biltmore Forest
is estimated at approximately 1700 residents and the town is 99%
residential. It is located between the historic
and is culturally and historically affiliated with both. In 1916, a
flood caused significant damage to portions of the Biltmore Estate
and the affected land was sold to lessen the upkeep and tax burden
of the Biltmore Company, owners of Biltmore Estate. The town was
created from this parcel of land and chartered & incorporated in 1923. The first
houses were built on White Oak Road. The town hall is located at 355
Vanderbilt Road, Biltmore Forest NC 28803.
Candler -West of Asheville
Candler is an unincorporated
community in Buncombe County, located to the west of Asheville. It
is primarily agricultural and residential, with some light industry
and businesses centered on the main highway, NC 151 and 74. Candler
is home to the locally famous
Pisgah View Ranch,
and a number of private mountain communities.
-West of Asheville
Enka is an unincorporated
community in Buncombe County, located on the west side of Asheville.
Enka was developed in 1928 as a company town for the Dutch-based
American Enka Company which at the time was the nation's largest
rayon producing manufacturer. In 1929 the company began developing a
community plan that included employee houses and that area became
known as Enka Village. Enka Village is now an historic community,
with most of the area around the former Enka Lake transformed into a
private mountain community, Biltmore Lake. There continues to be
some light industry along the major highways although most of Enka
is still agricultural and residential in nature.
-Southeast of Asheville
Fairview is an unincorporated
community in Buncombe County located on the southeast side of
Asheville. It is primarily a residential community of about 3000
residents which still retains a rural and agricultural dimension.
Over the years, Fairview has seen considerable growth of
residential subdivisions, luxury developments and private mountain
communities due to its proximity to Asheville and its unspoiled
natural beauty. Fairview is at a higher elevation than Asheville,
over 3000 feet, and is in a 10 mile-long mountain valley surrounded
by 5000 foot peaks. Fairview is home to many artists and crafts
also has a monthly newspaper, the
Fairview Town Crier.
-Northwest of Asheville
Leicester is an unincorporated community in Buncombe County,
located on the northwestern border of Asheville. Population is
estimated to be around 12,500 residents. The community has seen
considerable development in the past ten years, and today has
numerous residential developments and a number of private mountain
communities. Parts of Leicester however, remain rural with
agriculture still very much in evidence.
Originally known as Turkey Creek, Leicester had a post office
beginning April 7, 1829. The name was changed in 1859, in honor of
Leicester Chapman. Post office records reveal that Leicester Chapman
was Postmaster at Turkey Creek from 1852 to 1856. Leicester has a
commercial area that stretches along Leicester Highway, heading west
through the town from Asheville.
One encounters Asheville today as a
modern city that is rapidly growing and expanding out into the
surrounding Buncombe County. Asheville today does not look at all
like the Asheville from before the turn of the century. Regrettably,
much of the best of that time has vanished, including the elegant
Queen Anne style Battery Park Hotel and the very hilltop on which it
stood and dominated the city landscape. Only scattered buildings
remain from that period.
Much of the city landscape remains, however, from the early days of
the century through to the present day, especially downtown
Asheville, which retains a strong presence from the early third of
this century. Asheville’s slow recovery from the Great Depression
did not allow it to wholesale demolish these early buildings as did
so many American cities, and because of that, they have been
preserved intact to this day. Within the central downtown district
for example, one can find excellent examples of Neo-Gothic,
Commercial Classical, Art Deco, Romanesque Revival and other style
structures that make up the most extensive collection of early
twentieth century architecture in the state. They remain an open-air
museum, reminders of the optimism and unbounded investment that
characterized Asheville in its boom period. Asheville is the only
city of its magnitude in which such a urban landscape survives
Asheville, through the efforts of local preservation and historic
resources organizations, as well as the North Carolina Department of
Cultural Resources, has been divided into a number of historic
districts. These districts Albermarle Park, Asheville High School,
Asheville School, Biltmore Industries, Biltmore Village, Chestnut
Hill, Downtown, Eliada Home, Grove Park, Montford, Oteen VA Hospital
City Website: City of Asheville: Asheville City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, P.O.
Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802; 828-251-1122
Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
The Ultimate Guide To Asheville & the Western North
Buncombe County: County Offices, 205 College Street,
Asheville NC 28801; 828-250-4000
Chamber of Commerce Website:
Asheville Chamber of
36 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC
Asheville Visitor Center: Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centerr,
36 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801; 800-257-1300